Christian Life 

Has Christianity Become Intolerable?

In the last few years, countries outside of the UK have increasingly been concerned about and commenting on developments within the UK with respect to Christians and the freedom to bear witness to the Christian faith. Benjamin Bull asks the question.
 

Townhall.com
by Benjamin Bull
Peter and Hazelmary Bull
Peter and Hazelmary BullThere has been a demonstrable move away from Judeo-Christian faith and practice in Europe for a number of years. Just ask British hoteliers Peter and Hazelmary Bull.

What was once respected as authoritative is now considered Victorian, and what was widely embraced as a moral guide has been dismissed with the morals in which it guided people…all in the name of tolerance, mind you.
 
And so the Bulls have experienced the irony of ironies that Christianity is being forced out of the room by those who claim tolerance as their guiding principle.  

They used to be poked fun at for their guest policy, “No double rooms for unmarried couples,” but they rolled with it. In fact, Mrs. Bull would simply deflect the criticism by saying, “You have to have some principles.”  

But those days were fleeting. Now, instead of jokes, criticism, or negative headlines, the Bulls face lawsuits over their policy.  

As the effects of Christianity have steadily eroded, the tentacles of secularization (its proponents would call it an “enlightened” secularization) has taken hold. It is marked by egalitarianism and utopian fantasies, but especially tolerance.  

Tolerance for everything, except that which is intolerable, of course.  
And at this particular turn in the road, a hotel policy that won’t allow two unmarried people to share a bed is at the apex of what will not be tolerated.  

In fact, a British appeals court just upheld a £3,600 ($5,800) fine against the Bulls over their policy. This stems from a 2008 complaint against them, filed when they refused to rent Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy a double room because they are not married.  

Hall and Preddy countered that they are in a civil union and that the refusal to rent them a room violates the U.K.’s 2007 Equality Act.  

That act, like so many acts similarly impacting freedom of religion and conscience, “exempts some religious institutions from some nondiscrimination laws, but commercial guesthouses” aren’t among those receiving exemptions.  

It’s the same act that allowed practicing Sikhs to carry their ceremonial swords on passenger airplanes but made no room for British Airways’ employee Nadia Eweida to wear a cross.  

And this is when the intolerance of Christianity comes into full view. The same British government that said a secularly-owned business has no obligation to allow a Christian to wear her cross has now gone the extra step—in the Bulls’ case—to claim that no one forces Christians to start a business and, therefore, they can’t object when the government wants to force them to violate their consciences.  

In other words, if you’re a secularist, you and the law are going to get along just fine. But if you are a Christian, you start a business at your own peril.  

It’s kind of like saying, “heads I win, tails you lose.”  

That’s the new face of “tolerance” that has replaced “Victorian,” biblical ideals like freedom of expression and religion.  

To anyone who’s really thinking, the Judeo-Christian principles that truly respect dissenters with a conscience are welcome ideals indeed.
 

Footnotes: See also report in The Wall Street Journal
Peter and Hazelmary Bull have now won permission to fight their case in the Supreme Court

Benjamin Bull, 27/09/2012

Feedback:
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Tim Jones (Guest) 28/09/2012 17:25
I would think that they are exercising the right of every citizen to due process under the law - extending to the highest court of appeal. I see nothing wrong with that; and I presume - in answer to your question - that the appeal system is not exhausted.
It is when this point is reached that the couple - and everyone else who should be vitally interested in the outcome - will know for sure how the laws under which all live are to be applied.

And then to repeat my question: "Could I ask you if you would obey the law if the law required you blaspheme God?"
Truth Teller (Guest) 28/09/2012 18:20
"And then to repeat my question: "Could I ask you if you would obey the law if the law required you blaspheme God?""

I would rather go to prison that be made to do such a thing, but that is a poor comparison that you are making! Many Christians are forced to compromise their faith in everyday work situations. The Bull's IMO comes under the latter and not the former. Their case is nothing to do with blaspheming God,but everything to do with morals and ethics.

When I initially became a Christian, I was in a job that required me to tell lies on the phone several times a day (advertising), naturally something had to give and I resigned. I would put the Bull's situation on a par with that, not blasphemeing God!!
Bill Dawson (Guest) 28/09/2012 18:32
What on earth is it that makes a Christian, or anyone else, think that Humanists have a policy of aggression towards those that disagree with them?
Tim Jones (Guest) 28/09/2012 20:32
"When I initially became a Christian, I was in a job that required me to tell lies on the phone several times a day (advertising), naturally something had to give and I resigned. I would put the Bull's situation on a par with that, not blasphemeing God!!"

I mentioned the blasphemy question as a counter to your earlier point -
"compliance is also required for a Christian witness? (See Rom 13)"
So in fact you have contradicted yourself (in terms of keeping the law) by saying you would willingly go to jail i.e. having broken the law.

Are you suggesting that Christians should pull out of every means of earning a living which might end up with a case against them?

Are you saying that Christians shouldn't seek recourse if they (and their legal advisers) feel that the law is being wrongly applied?

What would you say about the four Christians who are presently presenting their case to the ECHR?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9748000/9748676.stm
Editor 28/09/2012 23:19
An interesting conversation guys, and please don't let me interrupt.

However just to point out that the real story is not so much the case in point, but rather the fact that foreign media (who have quite enough stories of their own) are increasingly commenting on what is happening in the UK.
And this should be saying something to us.

But, just to repeat, please feel free to continue your conversation about the Bulls' situation.
Truth Teller (Guest) 29/09/2012 07:33
I don't consider that I have contradicted myself, as it is not a 'one size fits all' situation when it comes to living the Christian life in terms of what God's word call us to.

Not everything relating to the life of faith is black and white, however there are certain 'givens' when it comes to being a Christian that we must all work out from God's word.

To answer your question regarding, "Are you suggesting that Christians should pull out of every means of earning a living which might end up with a case against them?"

That depends on the situation in which they find themselves. For example, if a Christian(s) decides to set up a hotel in Soho in London, then logic based on what is happening in our culture today would suggest that they are going to be targetted by people who have their own particular drum to bang. That will lead undoubtedly to litigation in the current culture. So, why put yourself in that situation to begin with? I know that this is an extreme example, but it can be extrapolated.

"Are you saying that Christians shouldn't seek recourse if they (and their legal advisers) feel that the law is being wrongly applied?"

No, but that we should be careful to choose our battles. Gone are the days that we are listened to just because we are Christian. The Church's voice is becoming weaker in our society, how much is that our own fault for adopting a lopsided, judgemental approach over many decades?

Sorry, that I don't have time to address your final question as duty calls. I hope to pick up again on our discussion after the weekend.





Tim Jones (Guest) 01/10/2012 17:48
"I don't consider that I have contradicted myself"

What I was referring to was the statement you made earlier about Christians having to stay within the law, but then in a later message saying that you would be prepared to break the law if the law required you to blaspheme God. (And I used that scenario just as an illustration.) The question of whether Christians - and they have - should smuggle Bibles is an example of the tensions between keeping the law and breaking it.

"At what point is the appeal system exhausted and the law applied?"

Paul used the law (which in his case protected Roman citizens (Acts 22:25)). So should the Bulls and everyone else.

The Bull's are fighting their case 'within the law'; and the fact that they are still in the process effectively means that it is still 'sub judice'.
Truth Teller (Guest) 01/10/2012 20:56
Tim,

As in many cases in such discussions we shall have to agree to disagree on many parts of where we stand.

Lord bless


Tim Jones (Guest) 02/10/2012 09:17
"Lord bless". And you too brother (or sister?). Good to discuss these things and air the different perspectives. Keep 'Truth Telling'.
Philip Kilravock (Guest) 10/10/2012 10:50
Tim I have smuggled Bibles to under ground churches and would do it again. When my brothers and sisters are persecuted and their freedom of belief is taken from them. I am duty bound to help where I can. As far as the Bulls were concerned they were targeted by these homosexual men to make an issue out of the fact they wanted to run their B&B under Christian values. Theirs was not a crime and they were unfairly dealt with I believe we will see a lot more of this in the UK.
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